All Things Fair (1995)

Johan Widerberg, Marika Lagercrantz, Tomas von Brömssen, Karin Huldt,
Malm?, Sweden during the Second World War. Stig is a 15 year old pupil on the verge of adulthood. Viola is 37 years old and his teacher. He is attracted by her beauty and maturity. She is drawn to him by his youth and innocence. A...
  • 6.9 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Writer:
  • Bo Widerberg, Director:
  • Per Holst, Producer:
8 / 10

More films of this standard are desirable

How much I regret the passing of director Bo Widerberg who can create a film such as this one with its dramatic portrayal of human problems, human relationships and human emotions. It was not so much the dialogue but more the unspoken words that grabbed my attention and held me to the end. A long silence can be filled with meaning....a stolen look, a fleeting glance, a flicker of a smile, a movement of the eye....all these subtle messages electrify the air between Viola the teacher and Stig the student in the class room. We know at once that in some magical way their lives have been drawn together and as we are caught up in the drama we seem to know that eventually the ending will not be a happy one.

Under the guise of having special coaching lessons, Stig gains entrance into his married teacher's household after his evening cinema job. Shy at first he soon experiences the delights of a continuing relationship with Viola who is a very competent teacher in all respects. Perhaps we can pardon Viola for her "cradle snatching" when we find out that her husband has taken to drink and seems almost permanently drunk.

The love scenes are sensitively handled and the remarkable changes which develop in the characters create an imposing piece of cinema. Stig seems to take on a degree of security in a scene where he accuses the husband of the impossible situation. But who is really to blame? That is the intriguing part of the film.

There are some aspects that are not explained thus the viewer becomes involved. As for the stolen encyclopaedia, why would Stig carry them off. Is he just in a vindictive mood and does it just to annoy Viola or have those volumes become special to him because they belonged to Viola.

9 / 10

Bo Widerberg passes cinema baton to his son

Bo Widerberg was honored in February 1997 at the Miami Film Festival with a retrospective (ELVIRA MADIGAN), and his latest (last?) film, the Oscar nominated ALL THINGS FAIR. I then saw ALL THINGS FAIR for the second time, and despite its length, enjoyed it as much or more than the first time I saw it in an arthouse theatre in Toronto. I think ALL THINGS FAIR is the great Swedish director's best, most personal film. You can't help but notice it must be autobiographical by the passion and the vivid recreation of WW II Sweden, as it was when Mr. Wideberg himself was the lead character's age. Speaking of him, the lead is the director's own 17 year old son, Johan Widerberg, who will undoubtedly carry on the family tradition in Swedish cinema history. Mr. Widerberg (Sr.) passed away last year, and among his legacy, this film stands out. It is a rare coming of age story in a setting seldom depicted on screen. Mr. Wideberg's screenplay, and direction, plus excellent performances by his son and two of Sweden's greats, Marika Lagerkrantz and Tomas van Bromssen make this a movie every European film buff should watch. It's now available on video. Check it out.

7 / 10

Sex and complexity...oh those Euro flicks

Watching "All Things Fair" as it showed on TV here in Canada on CBC public network last night, was a treat. Only my sensible, nagging partner coaxing me to get to bed on a work night persuaded me we could trust the VCR to tape the last hour or so. Fortunately for his neck, the tape ran out during the closing credits and not before!

What I liked most about the film (with English subtitles) was the complexity of Sig's world and his relationships. It's a very real world feeling on screen, full of quirky believability, despite Sig's unusual arrangement with his teacher.

Though I know of a real life story resembling Sig's relationship with his teacher that went very differently for the teacher--ending in her virtual ruin--the behaviour of these film characters, the outcome and the aftermath, rings true nonetheless. No character is one-dimensional, even though the film schools us to sympathize with the choices of some and to repudiate others.

It's delightful to find in the credits that the director gave the plum lead role to his son. It takes an admirable trust, I think, to turn over a role like this to one's own young kin, complete with whatever there is in the script that MIGHT be autobiographical.

The female solo vocals in the soundtrack were wonderful. Now, I just need to found out who was singing like a bell whenever love or pain swelled in the story.

7 / 10

a surprise

I caught this film on Canadian television, and I was startled by the risque content being broadcast on a non-pay station. This is a story of a growing adolescent boy in a war-torn Europe. The focus of the movie is in the complex relationships he holds with the people in his life. The controversial nature may deter the more conservative American; however, the characters are well-rounded and acted and the cinematography is superb. I have a feeling this director may be famous in his home country, there is a touch of epic brilliance in the movement of the scenes.

7 / 10

To be young and in love with your teacher!

This is the life most men wish they had - an affair with their teacher. But all were not so pretty as the one in here. It's a coming of age story set in a time when men were going off to die in wars and those left behind were trying to make sense of it all in a society that was slowly crumbling. More complicated than now but still relevant in today's youth. All handled brilliantly by the Swedish director, Bo Widerberg, who loves to tell his tales in sensual lighting and locations. He sometimes tends to go soapy but held it in line for hi last work of art. Hewas to pass away a couple of years later. But he left us with another tender story for the soul.